Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 18, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

5:00 pm
languages, except that a great many of them, because they are spoken by small groups, are impressive. so you to click languages. and light which is that have cliques in them, the clicks are not express a. you don't use them to call a leopard or says something is interesting. the clicks are just like our letters. then you have other languages that nobody has ever heard the. many of them are spoken. talk about all the things that happened in africa. ..
5:01 pm
>> we have time for one last question. >> someone else is going to have to pick that person because i don't know how to do that. okay. >> i was curious about how is it that dialects have your words then as you were saying proper languages. >> what do you mean? >> i mean, wouldn't there be this same number roughly, or is that just, sort of, a general rule cumene? >> to human languages spoken by its smaller groups would have a small vocabulary than bite -- then like english?
5:02 pm
>> as opposed. >> i think what you are referring to is let's say english as 170,000 words. you are not supposed to say what that number is. is it sashimi an english word? i don't know. it is. if you look at the oxford english dictionary and go one, two, three, it is 170,000 word of words. it is true that if you look at one of these isolated indigenous languages, they do not have 170,000. how many is hard to say because you are not one of them -- not one of those people, the person who compiled the war this was was somebody from michigan or dusseldorf it is probably tens of thousands. the fact of the matter is that even within the tens of thousands you have your synonyms, shades of meaning. and a lot of what are considered words in english aren't. and so, for example, we have the
5:03 pm
word ruthless. well, there is a word to roost, and they're not referring to your great odds. it means mercy. it is not a word. it just happens to be in there because somebody put it there, but that is not a word in a real sense. if you subtracted and and talk about how many words the typical english speaking college graduate knows, you get closer to that 30,000, 40,000. so it is that way, but certainly the larger developed languages to have larger vocabulary's, partly because you can catch them all in amber in these big dictionaries. also, words for us, they don't go out of style because you can be -- you can capture them and dictionary. whereas in indigenous culture there'll be a word that is used for hundreds and hundreds of years and then it drops away and no one remembers it at all. that does not happen with us. i think that is the answer to the question.
5:04 pm
>> i think that is it. a round of applause for the author. [applause] [applause] >> you are watching 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books on c-span2 book tv. and now program from our archives. charles stevenson examines what he considers to be the most difficult job in washington d.c., the secretary of defense. james forrestal was sworn in as the first secretary of defense on september 17th 1947. >> one of the most difficult jobs in washington is that of secretary of defense. since the position was created in 1947, only half of the 21 men who have held the post have served more than 18 months. the others resigned in either
5:05 pm
frustration or disappointment or both. tonight's author, charles stevenson, has observed the office of secretary of defense professionally since the 1960's. he has served as defense and foreign policy adviser in the u.s. senate for more than 20 years. a longtime professor at the national war college in washington d.c. and now teaches at the school of advanced international studies at johns hopkins university. please help me welcome charles stevenson. [applause] [applause] >> thank you, and could evening. nice to see people show up on such a lovely day to talk about this topic. i want to tell you some stories about the 20 people, all men so far, that have served as secretary of defense and explain why most of them, after serving,
5:06 pm
have drifted into obscurity. it was exactly five years ago, august 2001, that i was observing the way secretary rumsfeld was trying to get all the the the pentagon. i thought, i've seen this story before. this looks just like what robert mcnamara was going through as he tried to assert civilian control over the pentagon under president kennedy. there were so many similarities, both men were very self confident, not arrogant. both men were corporate ceos who wanted to bring business practices in to the pentagon. both republicans. both elevated outsiders as they took over office and ignored a lot of the insiders, causing a lot of unrest.
5:07 pm
both tried to muzzle dissent. both of them created new processes that would allow them to a centralized their authority in the pentagon. there were some -- zero, and both of them, although there were in the defense department, were very active in foreign policy and probably dominated the state department of their time. now, those were the similarities. there were a couple of differences. secretary mcnamara was a political neophyte. rumsfeld has served in congress. nakamura had not even that john kennedy before he was appointed secretary of defense, whereas, of course, rumsfeld had a long time relationship with the vice-president, dick cheney. but despite those differences, there were enough similarities. i rode up an op-ed piece for the washington post saying of rumsfeld looks just like
5:08 pm
max mara. the post did not print it. the september 11th attacks occurred, so i don't have it in writing. it's true. then i was watching as the war in afghanistan and then the war in iraq played out to see whether rumsfeld would follow the same trajectory as mcnamara in vietnam. i'm sad to say that there were additional similarities' once the two secretaries of defense became secretary of war. both of them imposed their own war plans on the military. both of them rejected military advice for more troops at different stages of the conflicts. yet both kept the support of the president, even as the work turned on popular. needless to say, with these similarities i kept thinking, rumsfeld is going to be fired, it is just a question of when.
5:09 pm
since he hasn't been fired, i'm obviously a very bad predictor. it is true that one out of every three secretaries of defense has been fired or forced to resign. it is not a job that has a good job prospects. i wanted to -- i started doing the research and writing the book because i wanted to understand why is the failure rate so high. i also wanted to have something to assign students at the national war college because there is not much written about secretaries of defense. there are things written about how they make weapons choices, but not much about how they played at the key roles that they played as national security council members, part of the national security policy team. so i was looking for -- i wanted to write something i could assign to students, and i wanted
5:10 pm
to understand why the fear the rate was so high. i also wanted to contribute something to the library shelves because, you know, every secretary of state has a volume written on him or her. hardly any secretaries of defense. virtually every reason secretary of state has written a memoir. only one secretary of defense has really written a memoir. mcnamara, long after he left office, did write a kind of apologia on vietnam. but even the sec staff themselves don't put anything on paper, so i thought they deserved more shelf space. while the failure rate? the short answer is in the subtitle of the book. because it is a nearly impossible job. the secretary of defense has multiple roles, mostly just managing the pentagon is debatable.
5:11 pm
over 2 million people, a budget as large as the central government budget of any other country larger than. twice as large as walmart, the biggest private company in the world. you have to manage that. the sec staff is also a war plant -- a war planner and if need be a war executors. understand the use of force and the components of the u.s. military. has to be a diplomat, especially with so many military regimes a round the world, it is the secdef that gets called on to deal with some of these military regime leaders and others, to. and, of course, the secdef is a member of the national security council and therefore is an adviser to the president on the big issues of war and peace. within the pentagon itself the
5:12 pm
secdef has charge of, and most of these are really fettered on his office, half a dozen simultaneous very complicated processes. one is the budget process, and at any given time the secdef is trying to juggle this year's budget, what are we signing checks for. next year's budget that they are defending on capitol hill and trying to get resources for, and planning for future your budgets. that is hard enough in itself. but the secdef also has to handle weapons acquisition which follows a different process from the simple budget process. personnel, what people should be pointed to key positions. this secretary, more than most of his predecessors has been interviewing candidates for two and three as well as four-star jobs. that takes a lot of time, but it
5:13 pm
allows a secretary who does a tough select people who will reflect his vision about how to do things. i think secretary rumsfeld has been successful at recruiting a successor generation of military leaders who are if at least not planned, supportive of him and his vision. in addition the secdef is running public affairs and has to make comments. what is happening today, legislative relations, worrying about relations with the help, what legislation is needed, what might complicate his job. he has to deal with members of congress on that. legal advisory process. it is the secdef who signed off on the interrogation techniques, memos, as well as contingency planning, like other were planning and, of course, the interagency process. secdef, at least in this
5:14 pm
administration and most recent ones, spends a couple of days at the -- warehouse for national security council meetings. that takes a lot of times out of anyone's schedule. all of those things tend to be focused on the secdef. that is why it is a very hard job. how would you write the job description for the ideal secretary of defense? well, of course you have to be knowledgeable about defense issues, but you have to be politically savvy, or you won't survive in this town. you have to have good ties to the congress, at least work on it. you have to be compatible with your colleagues. you have to be respectful to the military. you need their support and respect in return, but yet you have to control them because you are the civilian, and we have a system of civilian control.
5:15 pm
you have to be able to delegate. one of the complaints about secretary rumsfeld is that he does not allow insubordinate to negotiate. they are either told, let's not commit to anything until we have decided and once we have decided within the pentagon be sure we prevail. that itself will pull more issues into the office of the secretary, thereby causing more time problems. the best way is to focus on a few priorities and delegate otherwise secdef has to be open to the advice, but willing to make decisions that sometimes make people unhappy, and they have to be, as few politicians are, a thick stand toward criticism. few people qualify for that kind of job description, and few people have done well. the historical record matches with the very first secretary of defense, james forrestal, said it might.
5:16 pm
this office, he said, will probably be the greatest cemetery for dead cats in history. as susan mentioned, of for of the 20 men, all men so far, that have served as secdef, only have served more than 18 months. if you have ever been to the pentagon, you know it takes 18 months just to fight your way through the different corridors. most of them were not even the first choice of the president and named them. there were not the ones that the president, most of the president's actually wanted. there were there second best. only two of the 20, i would argue, even aspired to the job and prepared themselves for that job. those would be jim slauson dear and less as men, both of whom got fired. they were well prepared, but they still did not perform very well. for what it's worth, six of our
5:17 pm
secretaries of defense have had no military experience. it is not be required for the job. and, as i mentioned, seven were fired or allowed to resign. in the book i try to carry interactive categorize that secretaries and three blocked five broad types. three main operating styles. perhaps the one you know most about of the ones i would call the revolutionaries, the ones who set out to major exchanges in the pentagon and state long enough to do a lot, impose a lot of that change. james forrestal, the very first one, matt panera, schlesinger, rumsfeld in his second tour. several others i call firefighters. people who were totally consumed dealing with short term problems that beset either the pentagon or the administration when they
5:18 pm
served. people like willie johnston under harry truman or clark clifford who follow. [applause] panera under lyndon johnson. laird under nixon. it rumsfeld his first time around. these were men who could not impose their vision because they were so tied up solving short-term problems. and then the broad number of secretaries that i call team players, people who did their job and saw their job as basically keeping defense problems of the front pages and away from the white house. and they worked fairly to allegedly with their colleagues. now, and looking at some of these secretaries i discovered there were some of unsung heroes. i will mention them to you. there are people who deserve more praise than they did. mcnamara's predecessor under eisenhower, thomas gates, really
5:19 pm
laid the basis for the reforms that mcnamara was able to carry out. but gates had prepared the way, got the congress to approve a change in the law that allowed the secretary far more control. laird comes off, in my view, as an unsung hero. he was able to convince the chiefs and the president's, and not always convinced, to maneuver even richard nixon into withdrawing troops from vietnam and getting us out of that conflict in decent order and successful in getting the change for the elimination of the draft and the creation of the all volunteer force. those were major achievements, and they were done with a lot of opposition. i think he is an unsung hero. harold brown under jimmy carter did a couple of very worthwhile things. he fought for arms control when
5:20 pm
usually secretaries of defense don't think that way. he was pretty successful in his arms control efforts. he helped move technology, especially stealth coming into our weapons programs, therefore -- the air force was strongly opposed to stealth. harold brown forced the air force to spend it the resources and develop the airplanes that we now rely on so heavily. finally, bill perry and the president, who more than most of his predecessors realized that putting special effort on improving the quality of life for military personnel, especially in listed people, and he spent a lot of time on diplomacy. he recognized early on that if we develop mill--mile military level contact with foreign countries it can make it easy to solve all lot of diplomatic problems in the short and long
5:21 pm
term. i think his opening to china have made it possible for us to develop a more cooperative relationship with china than we would have had if the secretary of defense had not been pushing this for a long time at his level in his wake. the pentagon is a very hard institution to change, and only a few of the secretaries of defense have really been successful at imposing change. most of the secretaries who failed have failed not because they did not manage the pentagon right, but because they did not handle some other political or military problem for the administration. rumsfeld is in more trouble than usual because he tried both to transform the military and to deal with some words that became difficult, if not unpopular. let me say something about the results of the retirees, because
5:22 pm
this whole issue of civil-military relations is an important one for us. i think there has been a lot of mistaken analysis of what started last april in, i guess, about eight retired general officers called for rumsfeld is removal. while i have discussions of civil military relations throughout "secdef," if you want a longer historical perspective including the revolutionary war, civil war, the weight teddy roosevelt handled it, i call to your attention by other book just out this summer called lawyers and politicians. this is more historical and focuses solely on the civil military issues. anyway, the result of the retirees. this was not the first time, nor will it likely be the last time that senior officers have criticized their civilian master's let me give you some
5:23 pm
quotes. general george mcclellan. i can't tell you how disgusted i am becoming with these wretched politicians. the president is nothing more than a well meaning baboon. okay. or the general in chief during the spanish american war, general nelson miles. classed with the secretary of war over how to fight the spanish, gave interviews to the press criticizing the conduct of the war, later miles criticized -- leaked to the press some of his plans for change and criticized -- testified against him on the hill saying that they would germanize and russianize the u.s. army. miles was so power -- popular a figure in washington, even teddy roosevelt could not fire him, though he wanted to. kicked him out of the white house one day, in the view of
5:24 pm
the press, but he had to wait until miles reached the mandatory retirement age and then put in new people. in the kennedy years, doesn't this sound like what happened to rumsfeld in the very first year of the bush administration? the kennedy administration came in and read from the start we got the back of the hand. we think nothing of you and your opinions. we don't like to his people. we have no respect for you. don't bother us. air force general thomas white also under mcnamara, i am profoundly apprehensive of the pipe-smoking tree-pull-out-owls so-called defense intellectuals. defense intellectuals who have been brought in to this nation's capitol. i doubt they have sufficient worldliness to stand up to the kind of enemy we face. it is not unusual for the military to criticize their civilian masters.
5:25 pm
it is rooted in our system, our dual system of civilian control. the military has two master's, the president through the chain of command, and the congress, which gives them money and rights laws to tell them what they can and cannot do. they are cross-pressured. therefore they are and a triangular relationship that each side can play the other two for their own benefit. now, i don't think it is improper for retired officers to criticize the civilian leaders because it allowed in law for current serving officers. when the congress wrote the national security act of 1947 they said it cheese could go to the congress and say what they wanted whenever they wanted. they did not have to get it cleared through the secdef. and the senate for the last 50 years has required of any and every general officer of pledge
5:26 pm
that if some and they will give their personal and professional views, even if those views are at variance with the administration. the congress and senate specifically have said we insist that you tell us what you really think. if retirees want to make criticism, you know, it's fully allowed. it's better, i think, if they get to the congress with their complaints than the talk shows. it's not a threat to american democracy to have this kind of criticism because the military is very -- certainly last april, the military officers have been very careful about what they did and how far they went. they feel uncomfortable. that is good. they should feel uncomfortable, but they should also feel free to make these kind of comments. now, understand that i think these officers who criticized rumsfeld have their own motives. they are trying to defend their
5:27 pm
institution. they want to avoid the military being blamed for the outcome in iraq. they want more pragmatic civilian leaders and anyone who has been serving for six years would be, and they certainly feel our ground forces are overstretched with the deployments in afghanistan and iraq. that is where they're coming from. on the other hand, the president and secretary rumsfeld are reflecting typical civilian use on how to fight wars. politicians want quick and easy victories. the warriors want autonomy, let us do it our way, redundancy, give us more than enough so we will be sure to succeed. they plan for the worst case. politicians like to believe in the best case. credit as liberators. both sides, in this country, feel the legacy of vietnam. they want to avoid being blamed if things go sour.
5:28 pm
that is why american politicians, this president, his predecessor, and his predecessor's predecessor have all said, we will give the military what they asked for. well, then the military has to ask. the result of this is the military has a veto on the use of force. they never use it as a veto but they use it in state to get terms and conditions for the use of force. not and no, but a yes. of course, mr. president. we will do this, and we need if you give us. i think the issue with iraq to date is not secretary rumsfeld solely to blame. the plans for our problems there can be widely shared. i would say as much blame goes on general franks for not standing up.
5:29 pm
maybe he didn't want to. general franks went along with of what war plan. a flawed battle plan that only cared about the flaw -- fall of baghdad and not enough about the reconstruction of a successor regime. that focus by franks and rumsfeld insistence on a pure and fewer troops and all that showed that the blame on what has gone wrong and iraq is shared. not civilian or military. it is shared. since i have been predicting rumsfeld firing for five years, i guess i can predicted tonight, and i will probably be wrong. there is no reason for him to leave unless the president wants to change policy and especially if he wants a scapegoat. come september 22nd rumsfeld will be the second longest
5:30 pm
serving secretary of defense to pass caspar weinberger. and next january 21st if he is still in power he will be the longest serving secretary of defense. but he has created a legacy that means his successor will face, in addition to all the normal problems of being secdef, the extra problems of an unpopular war, declining budgets, probably short tenure before someone else is elected president and a new team comes in in 2009, and probably a military that is resistant to tough management. they can feel a little more free, they will probably act more independently. all of this is not a good prospect if any of you were thinking of wanting to be secretary of defense. that is what i wanted to say to get the discussion going.
5:31 pm
i would love to hear your questions and comments. [applause] >> yes. they have a microphone. >> some function said that when he was in the military and with secretary cohen that secretary colin would go out of his way to booze and to the meetings where he had separate views. implied that would be unthinkable that rumsfeld keeps a much shorter leash on it. is that correct? in general, how did secretaries of defense lineup on their willingness to allow and
5:32 pm
encourage senior military officers to descend to before congress and elsewhere? >> i agree this secretary seems to want to dominate discussion. whereas for most of the proceeding ten years after the act of 1986, the chiefs have a seat at the table. the military has a seat at the table next to the secretary. with this secretary at think they have been moved, if not a little back, at least moved to the side and told to keep quiet. i agree with that characterization. but since he said some nice things about my book i have a strong affinity for many of his views, to. >> in light of your background about the senate i would be interested to hear about the relationship with congress and secretary of defense, not just
5:33 pm
rumsfeld, and the congressional oversight role and how rumsfeld deals with that particular delicate balance that has to be struck between the two branches of government. >> it is very important for any secdef to maintain good relations on the hill, because that is where you get your resources and where you can also have problems if you don't get the laws or get the laws that can fit what you want to do. most secretaries of defense have tried to work very carefully to have at least the key committee people be supportive of them, even if there are the of liars who want to be critics of the pentagon in general or though war of the month in particular. they have tended to work pretty well with the senior congressional leaders and defense. secretary rumsfeld, like secretary weinberger has not done that very well. they have enjoyed the more
5:34 pm
adversarial relationship with the hill, and i think that explains why there is so much occasional press talk that the days of rumsfeld are numbered. enough people on the hill, even republicans are saying critical things about him, and that is normally assigned to everybody else that the guy is in trouble. as long as the president says he is my man and doing a heck of a job he is in good shape. it is important, i think, for our system of civilian control and our system of separated institution sharing power for any senior executive branch person to try to maintain good relations with the hill. that does not mean you give in, but it means you listen and you exchange and you are involved
5:35 pm
if i were advising anybody on what to do it would be at least work on it. don't ignore it, and don't demean the institution, the legislative branch just because you're in the executive branch. that houses all too many problems for all too many years when that happens. yes, sir? >> not having read the book and certainly the end of it, so i don't know what kind of recommendations you have, do you at all think about some type of structural reform or process that might make the job longer standing or more effective or in some way in million rate some of the problems you have seen? >> i sure don't have any ideas. at think i read somewhere over the past week that some think-tank has come up with hundred and 60 page list of reforms. i think it is people. this structure is good enough.
5:36 pm
it is not what if the people take advantage of it don't abuse it, don't miss use it i don't think we have a basic structural problem. the job is very hard. it takes someone who is willing to delegate, run risks, prioritized. that always runs the risk that you will miss or miss out on something that turns out to be important. i don't think that we need a structural, a bunch of structural changes. >> yes, sir. >> i have a question for you. some of these generals have remarked that the reason they're speaking out is because the congress did not do his job and that they therefore are speaking to the media in retirement. do you agree with that, that the congress did not, and why hasn't
5:37 pm
the congress exercised more oversight? perhaps in part because we don't have a, shall we say, a shared burden in this work, military obligation falls on everybody who -- whereas the congress than might become more responsive, shall we say, to its constituents. >> i agree that the congress has been negligent in its oversight of this war. but think it is been deficient in part because except for 18 months, just from may of 2001 through the end of 2002, except for that time when the democrats held a slim majority in the senate it has been republican control of both houses and, of course, the white house. the republicans have been less willing than they're democratic
5:38 pm
predecessors under democratic presidents to investigate and criticize. why that is, i don't know. i regret it. at the there is one explanation and one exception. the exception is senator warner's armed service committee that is done the best job of oversight of any of the military committees or subcommittees. at think that is because he is an institutional list who sees the world -- the role of the congress. the majority leader of the senate i don't think really cares about the senate senator frist was elevated at the request of the white house, i don't think he is a set of. he is a member of the senate, but he is not, he does not seem to believe in the institution the way many of his colleagues to. he has not been pushing senate
5:39 pm
prerogatives of the way senator warner has. another difference is that the way this war has been fought, afghanistan and iraq, have been fought with supplemental appropriations which do not go through the authorizing committees, the armed services committees. they have not had a bite at the apple. sixty, $80 billion does only through the appropriations committees, which historically have thought about money more than policy. so the policy committee, the authorizing committees just have not had a chance to weigh in as much as they might otherwise. that technical problem, plus the political reluctance to criticize explains, i think, the congress's shortfall. the congress is not the one to vote for a draft. no way. that -- i believe we should have -- we should have had since
5:40 pm
september 11th more national sacrifice, but i don't think the congress would vote for a draft and i don't think that is the way to handle the problem now either. >> i very much enjoyed your remarks. earlier a questioner asked about the relationship between secdef in congress. i wanted to question -- i wanted you to kind of explore who had the best relationship with their president and who -- i ask this. i worked when he was on the hill. did not go with him to the pentagon. a number of former colleagues did. and remember him telling me that the white house, they don't like us we think they have problems with military issues, this kind of thing.
5:41 pm
there were also of the opinion that the clinton white house was not crazy about the attorney general at that time, janet reno. can you kind of from your ranking see who was very close to his president and he seemed more distant? >> i have of fun spot in my heart for him as well, and i regret that he failed as secretary. i think he failed maybe because of problems with the white house the clinton white house was pretty, pretty ill-coordinated in its early couple of years. but i think the problem was also his management style. he took a hill staff management style to the pentagon. the people close to him or disconnected from the
5:42 pm
institution beneath them which could have helped them enormously if they had connected. it was partly self-imposed. his own grambling discussions did not help. i really like myself and my contact with them, and i regret he did not do better as secretary who was closest to their president? clearly mcnamara was close to both kennedy and johnson. very interesting be if you read the transcripts of the cuban missile crisis that have been published, and understand that kennedy, john f. kennedy had never met either dean rusk or bob mcnamara when he appointed in to office. this is 18 months into an administration. lots of meetings, crisis. cubans -- cuban missile crisis. read the transcript and listen to the tapes.
5:43 pm
kennedy always calls mike panera bob and he always calls dean rusk, secretary rusk. that tells you something about their relationship. ronald reagan was very close to of one bird and had been in california. he tolerated the very open disagreement between the secretaries that caused all kinds of problems in the administration. he said there both my friends and i'm not calling to choose between them. he was close and drew upon his closeness to the president. who else was close? well, clearly george marshall who served only a year during the korean war had previously been secretary of state under harry truman and then came back. he was close to truman.
5:44 pm
-- those are the ones that come to mind first. i looked at the list i might add one or two others. >> how would you assess the lack of military experience with members of congress and how it affects their ability to provide oversight? if you look at the members the do have it, the experience in the navy in and secretary of the navy, mccain, senator reid, a little bit more aggressive. they have a platform and understand the institution, but it allows them to have on trade to be a little more critical. whereas some of the members, i think, feel a little bit more sensitive. to you think it has been a factor in the ability to provide effective oversight and understanding? >> not really. military service as a plus, certainly a political plus. the more women we elected to public office the more the percentage of folks with military service is going to go
5:45 pm
down, just because women are not drafted, and have not served in as great numbers as men. that demographic change alone, which is a good thing, i think, for the country is going to mean fewer and fewer people have had experience in military service. we have some secretaries of defense like dick cheney he did a very good job, though never served in uniform. so i think it helps in congress if people have -- where ever experienced people in congress has had made a more attentive to the issues, but i don't think it matters whether someone has served for the institution as long as there are a good number of people who have served and do know about the military service and the way the military operates, and that is going to occur because it is still a political plus. the declining percentages are just a reflection of the end of the draft and the rise of women.
5:46 pm
both of those are good things, so i'm going to tolerate the side effects that come with it. >> to piggyback on that, in terms of this present administration, what i find it curious is why secretary paul was not selected for secretary of defense and rumsfeld was selected for secretary of state >> well, i urge you, since we are in a bookstore, to read james man's rise of the balkans, which has a pretty good explanation that i find credible that the people i talk to, namely that george w. bush and his close advisers thought that he did not agree with them on enough -- enough issues and might be too strong a personality, so they needed to balance them with another strong personality, not the former
5:47 pm
senator from indiana, but someone who really could stand up to him. of course rumsfeld and cheney could stand up to him, and they did. largely marginalized on any issue that he previously from his military experience would have been caught up in. understand, the law ever since 1947, creating the job of secdef, says it has to be from civilian life, and that means you can't have served in active duty within the past ten years. an exception was made. a law was passed so that general marshall could serve, but it takes another act of congress to waive that requirement. paul would not have been in the running anyway, just because of that legal technicality. >> assuming there is pork and waste in the defense budget, building major weapon systems we
5:48 pm
don't need it or that don't work, have there been the defense been any secretaries of defense with the courage to abolish what the systems? >> well, yes, there have been secretaries to have canceled different programs at different times. i think it is interesting that virtually every recent republican secretary of defense picked one just to prove it could cancel something. dick cheney tried to kill the v-22. rumsfeld killed the crusaders and then got the army to kill another of his programs call the comanche helicopter. that is symbolic. they kill a program to be able to stand up in front of the media and say i'm tough on defense. it is very hard for any secretary of defense to reshape the overall budget of the military. rumsfeld has tried and has made
5:49 pm
some strides, but even the defense review, you know, 80 percent of it is the same stuff we have always had. it takes even more tenacity and success than rumsfeld or mac the mayor have had to make major changes in the basic underlying shape of the defense budget. those two guys did the best job of reshaping. it is hard. just legacy systems and political support that goes with it that makes it very hard to change. any other questions? >> since 1945 we have been almost in continuous war. you made a freudian slip and said the war of the week a little bit ago.
5:50 pm
i don't know if you hurt yourself. >> it was an attempt at humor that i probably should not have done. it was deliberate. >> every secretary of state and every secretary of defense since 1945 has been a member of the council on foreign relations. you have continuity of programs. it does not matter if you have republican or democrat. you can't tell the difference. all these people just recirculate back through the government. you have the same people. does the president run the country? do you have an invisible oligarchy that appoints these managers and all these no-win wars. right now we are in another. the country is bankrupt. it is an unwinnable, untenable position. it would not matter if you had
5:51 pm
john kerry or bill clinton. it would be this same program. we have these 20-year-old kids getting their brains blown out for nothing. i don't know why there isn't more opposition to it. somebody is not held responsible. >> well, as a member of the council on foreign relations, i don't feel that there is up our lead in this town that is running foreign-policy. both parties argue quite forcefully that the other party is others bring things up for what, and i think if anything that is one of the problems, we have too much partisan divide and not enough effort to come across -- come up with a consensus. >> you alluded to how the president has never met his
5:52 pm
secretary of defense before he appointed him. nixon had never met henry kissinger. who appoints these people? who appoints all these cabinets? when carter ran he said he would get rid of all the insiders. he gets elected and 98 percent of his cabinet were all cfr people. total continuity. the same program. mcgovern said he would get out of vietnam. as soon as nixon got elected he carried out all his social programs. he got out of vietnam. rhoda of pows. they cover everything up. they send these kids over there for nothing. just about turned the whole world against us.
5:53 pm
>> i have a different interpretation of our history, but i understand and share your concern about prolonged death and dying in the middle east and elsewhere. i don't see the history the way you do. >> i don't know if you feel qualified to answer this. do you think that if, for instance, a million or so men were committed to iraq that it would be winnable? would we be in a quagmire still? >> to million is too big in number for me to imagine since we don't have anything like that in deployable forces. i don't know. i don't feel qualified. i want our military professionals to make good judgments and present their views to the civilian leaders, and i want this as -- i want to
5:54 pm
civilians to not necessarily accept and agree, but taken into consideration and realize that if they disagree, they are disagreeing with people that probably have a better claim on the advice and anybody else. i do think that iraq would have been in much more favorable condition to our interest if more troops had been sent in early on and if the planning for after the fall of baghdad had been far more robust and if a few other things had not happened that either rumsfeld or the military let happen subsequently whether things will have really been different, i don't know. it is very hard to build a country on the ruins of one that was reasonably effective in controlling its people for a good long while. it's a difficult task, and i am
5:55 pm
not going to up -- i can't play on that field. is there a last question to back well, thank you. [applause] [applause] >> please feel free to pick up both of mr. stevenson's books at the front of the store. thank you all. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> every sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern book tv airs a program from our archives that coincides with a significant occasion. for more programming checkout american history television on c-span three or visit c-span.org / history. forty-eight hours of people and events that help document the american story.
5:56 pm
>> good evening, everybody. i'm michael aron, senior political correspondent with to esteemed colleagues from the media. josh margolin, who made his name in this state but is now at the new york post. and ted sherman, who continues to make his name. both recently did a series on the commission which may not mean a lot to people down here, but it sure meant a lot ticker's christie. fell out and have not gotten back up yet. which is what this book is someone about. it is about the downfall of a number of people who were not expecting to be taken down and
5:57 pm
to have all or many gone to prison as a result and his allies have been ruined. you all remember, i'm sure, what triggered this book or the incident that this book is all about. the mass on the day in july in 2009 of political figures, mainly in northern new jersey, and rabbis from brooklyn, from the orthodox community. these two guys decided to write a book about that case, and i want to start by asking them why. why did you write this book? >> because nobody understood what happened, why it happened, when it first happened. ted and i were as close to it as anybody who was not handcuffed.
5:58 pm
frankly we did not understand it. we come into the office on a muggy july morning having been tipped off the night before that something big was going to come down. and in new jersey there is always something big and a politician getting arrested and a corruption case. my god, we are there and getting reports from our colleagues that are out at the fbi headquarters or in brooklyn. it is a dozen politicians, two dozen. rabbis in black coats with ritual fringes flowing in the breeze. the deputy mayor of jersey city who shows up handcuffed. seventy years old and wearing a look cut dress. what is this? >> and we didn't even know. >> all we knew is we had this
5:59 pm
will put together business lady. we hear that there is an informant in the middle of it, and the feds won't say who it is. no one understands, the first thing no one understands how we came together, and when you finally find out, when we finally found out what it was the tie everything together, we still didn't understand. why would anybody, to take you back, why would anybody trust him? he had been arrested already on a $50 million bank fraud. and we will go through the details which are extraordinarily hilarious as stupid and sad, but he had been arrested already. people are laundering his money as if somehow he is not wired by the fed. >> let me stop you there because we have to get -- >> you can watch this and other programs online

104 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on